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AID Delhi newsletter october 2006

AID Delhi newsletter october 2006

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Published by: AID INDIA DELHI CHAPTER on Sep 30, 2009
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By Riputapan SinghOctober – the month of Ramazan (Ramadan) and World Food Day (Oct 16). Is there a link? Notreally but in a way, yes! Ramazan unites the Muslims the world over to fast for one month duringthe day to “feel” what someone feels when (s)he is hungry. World Food Day reminds us of thehungry billions around the world too. But do we really feel for them? Do we really think aboutthem? We work our entire lives for money – do we ever bother to work for them, even if for ashort while?We can start right NOW! By contributing in whatever way possible. A small volunteeringopportunity or a meal-a-month donation is all it takes to begin. And the possibilities are limitless.AID was built 15 years ago to tackle the issues India has to face in its path of development. Atake on 15 years of AID is featured inside.We welcome the feedback of our readers to make this newsletter better each month. So, keepyour mails flowing!
EditorialPage1Article on 15 yrs of AID by RaviPage 2Signing PetitionsPage 3Time is unrealPage 3Projects UpdatePage7Diwali at SamarthPage 4Parichay stallPage 5Projects UpdatePage 6Volunteer ProfilePage 7
October 06
Time is unreal
by Anuj Grover
Time is a contrivance designed by man to help him in his activities
The true power of man is not limited by this contrivance
Man has infinite power. We just need to realize it
For realizing this infinite source of power within oneself, one needs to first free oneself of theslavery to all contrivances
The very fact that "Truth is Independent of Time", proves that time is but a delusion - a concept towhich all of us have subscribed. We DESERVE, we NEED and we HAVE TO rise above this delusion
All pain in this world has its roots in this delusion of time. Consider any pain -death, anger... all iscaused because we don't realize that the truth will always remain. That what existed before willcontinue to exist in its true essence.
It is the worldly delusion of physical presence and attachment/ love for the illusory physical formthat causes pain.
Page 1
It is 15 years since Association for India's Development created channels by which people in the USA and in thecities of India could connect with the rural masses of India. Windows of opportunity to do something meaningfulopened when it became possible to identify villages without schools, wells and electricity, collect donations fromwell-meaning individuals and find collaborators in India with whose partnership projects in education, ruraldevelopment, health etc could be taken up. By building bridges with progressive community, women's groupsand motivated citizens we have opened doors to activists and social workers who in the midst of theirphenomenal work found time to visit and inspire us. Despite hectic work and school schedules the commitmentof our volunteers grew and we went to the cause as much as the cause came to us. Through AID-India,enriched by several volunteers quitting their jobs and working full-time for the cause, and by joining severalgrassroots movements, we have gotten the first-hand experience of ourselves working with the underprivilegedor overexploited of India.While we have opened windows and doors to the masses of India, we have also been conscious that there arewalls around us - walls of security from within which exploiters exploit, walls of comfort that separate the elitefrom embracing the masses. Sometimes even as we open the windows we are frustrated knowing that we aredoing this from the comfort of our living rooms and lifestyles that are unsustainable. And yet in the past fewyears we have seen some of the walls collapse. Indeed along with the others, AID volunteers have pounded atsome of the walls as they collapsed.The wall of silence between the bureaucracy and the common citizen of India collapsed with efforts initiated byactivists like Aruna Roy and the villagers of Rajasthan who demanded to see their muster rolls or paymentregisters, resulting in the dawn of the Right to Information Act. This has given common citizens access to filesthat only the bureaucracy had, thereby removing the wall between them, in whose shadow the officials takebribes, making corruption rampant.If today we are at this happening stage it is because of the path of Sangharsh, Nirman and Seva that we learntfrom movements such as the Narmada Bachao Andolan. It showed us that just doing something has littlemeaning if injustice is left unchallenged. We have seen courage in non-violent activists of India and we need togather our courage, for it is easy to tell people that we are helping the poor but it is much harder to point tooppressive forces that are causing poverty. We do not want to be raising money or volunteers by arousing pity,by showing a poor villager living in darkness with no lights in her house. We want to show that a hard-workinglaborer of India who earns Rs 20-40/day cannot pay the Rs.1500 bribe that is taken by electricity official whogives the connection, but can pay the Rs 40 per month electricity bill for maintaining a light and a fan. If thebribes in the electricity department and corruption in our heart are fought, India will move from darkness tolight.In the space of organizations AID has an important role as it is one of the few that realizes the importance of addressing the causes rather than the symptoms of poverty. AID that started out among highly educatedpeople has a natural base that attracts the elite of India that are genuinely concerned. A meaningfulpartnership between the elite and the masses has to be established and AID has made and will continue tomake a big contribution in this direction by linking with grass-roots movements, NGOs and through directinvolvement via AID-India. Now more than ever we need to dedicate ourselves, for the successful collaborationsand work of the past, have only put greater responsibility and expectation on AID, its volunteers, donors andwell-wishers, and with each day that passes a greater load of burden is falling on the shoulders of the poor of India.Some volunteers and leaders of AID have focused on local activities of the chapters and it is not an easy taskto keep attending meetings, raising funds, visiting and approving projects, hosting speakers, and keeping theoptimism alive year after year while the chapter goes through the ups and downs as people move in and out of the area. Some volunteers and leaders have coordinated between chapters, between project partners, movingfrom one issue to the next, so that AID solidarity and support is there for each and every just cause that comesto our notice. Always putting a nice word and an appreciative nod, several well-wishers and donors have seenAID evolve in the past 15 years, and have trusted and stood by us as they see us going deeper even as ourwork spreads wider. Several young people have quit their regular jobs and joined us as Saathis,Jeevansaathis, and project and program workers in full service. All your energy and commitment is needed foryears to come, looking ahead after 15 years of AID, together we hope more and more people join AID, do moreand more things, for more and more causes, with more and more courage and more and more focus.
Page 2Article on 15 years of AID by Ravi Kuchimanchi, founder
Do signing petitions have any practical significance? Are they taken seriously by any of the persons concerned?Are we wasting our time? But more importantly will it unnecessarily waste the fire in many individuals - whowant to do something for a cause - but by just signing a petition, the individual may somewhat feel somethingis done & perhaps he/she has contributed a little to the cause - and may not take any further action. But inreality nothing happens at all!! So in such a case, we should not have a petition at all! Atleast 1 out of 1000signing individuals may try and take an alternate action which may have more practical significance!
Anuj’s Response:
1. When I send emails to say 100s of volunteers on AID Delhi yahoogroup, telling them about the plight of Narmada valley people, most of them will have no idea of how to get their voice heard or how to show solidaritywith the people. Petition is one way of helping them add the crowd of voices seeking justice.2. The petitions are usually sent to people like the PM, Sonia Gandhi or CM of some state etc. I am not sureeven if they get to see that there are 1000 names on it or not... But what I am fairly confident about is thattheir secretaries would at least tell them that there are quite a few pages of faxes in the fax box with thousandsof names from all over the world... The fact that online petitions get people from all over the world involvedputs some pressure.3. It definitely gives a good moral boost to the people who are fighting for the cause in the field... I mean, Ihave seen motivation levels raise when I told NBA people that number of signatures have reached 3000 markor something like that... The people sitting there get a feeling that there are at least 3000 people around theworld who understand our pain and are voicing their concern... The PM is not listening to us - when we aresitting here - he may not even listen to them... They are at least showing support and creating awarenessabout our pain... This in itself is a 'huge' gain of the online petitions... It keeps the fighters on the groundmotivated and fuelled for the fight.4. Also, in a different way, online petitions also help in creating more awareness. When I ask a person to sign apetition, he/she would usually read it first... The person may otherwise even ignore the email...5. Signing a petition is a least one can do to show solidarity... So, at least this opportunity should be given toall.
Significance of Signing Petitions
(Based on AID volunteer Mudit’s question to Anuj and its subsequent response)
Page 3
The world united against terrorism. It’s high time we united against

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